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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

The Trump-Russia Investigation. Aired 10-11:30p ET

Aired January 5, 2018 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[22:00:10] ANNOUNCER: The following is a CNN special report.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Only being a politician for a short period of time, how am I doing? Am I doing OK? I'm president. Hey, I'm president. Can you believe it, right?

PAMELA BROWN, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: A shadow hangs over the White House.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Why so many lies?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not normal.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: The most explosive evidence yet in the Russia investigation.

BROWN: The urgent questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it appropriate for you to meet with the Russian officials?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it true that Mr. Manafort owed you millions of dollars?

JIM ACOSTA, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: How is all of that not collusion?

BROWN: At the heart of the Trump-Russia mystery.

TRUMP: I have nothing to do with Russia to the best of my knowledge. No person that I deal with.

BROWN: But there were secret contacts.

TAPPER: Breaking and stunning news. The release of an e-mail chain.

DONALD TRUMP, JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: Someone sent me an e-mail.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It came from Russians.

BROWN: Some denials that defy the facts.

PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I don't know what you're talking about. It's crazy.

TRUMP JR.: It's disgusting, so phony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't take any money from Russia, if that's what you're asking.

BROWN: A shocking dismissal.

JEFF ZELENY, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The President of the United States has terminated the director of the FBI.

TRUMP: He's a show boat, he's a grand stander.

JAMES COMEY, FORMER UNITED STATES FBI DIRECTOR: Those were lies plain and simple.

BROWN: Donald Trump's changing stories.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, Mr. President.

TRUMP: I owe nothing in Russia. I don't have any deals in Russia.

I've done a lot of business with the Russians.

BROWN: Compliments for Vladimir Putin.

TRUMP: He is really very much of a leader. He's done an amazing job. So smart.

BROWN: Where does the story end?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You may or may not find evidence of an impeachable offense.

TRUMP: The Russia story is a total fabrication. It's just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Good evening. I'm Pamela Brown. For more than a year I've been part of a CNN team investigating this critically important story.

A consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia interfered with the treasured right of American democracy, the free and fair election of a president.

The big question now, were the Russians working with any associates of Donald Trump or his company or his campaign?

We followed hundreds of different threads to financers. We've reported new information almost every day. Tonight we will bring that reporting all together in one place to tell a more complete story. We don't know how this investigative journey will end, but we do know where it starts. In November of 2013, Donald Trump brought the Miss Universe pageant to

Moscow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Russia and Putin, you know, I was in Moscow and they treated me so great. Putin even sent me a present, beautiful present.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, everybody. Welcome to Moscow!

TRUMP: It's an amazing location in Moscow. All of Russia is going wild over it. We're very happy the Miss Universe pageant is just setting records.

BROWN: Trump seemed to have the time of his life.

TRUMP: Wow. That's really --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're looking very Russian.

TRUMP: That is really nice. Now I feel, now I belong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The big man on campus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump.

BROWN: This is the unlikely place where an unusual cast of characters first emerged. Men who would end up in the middle of an investigation that has plagued a presidency. Donald Trump was paid between 12 and $20 million to bring Miss Universe to Russia.

TRUMP: Russia wanted it, Moscow wanted it, everybody wanted the Miss Universe. We had 18 countries that wanted it. They fought really hard to get it.

BROWN: The money came from this man, Aras Agalarov.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amazing hospitality in support.

BROWN: A billionaire developer, friend of Vladimir Putin, sometimes called the Trump of Russia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then they were whisked away to the magnificent Agalarov estate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:05:02] BROWN: Miss Universe was a family affair. Son Emin sang at the pageant. And his mom got a job, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fashion and beauty expert, Irina Agalarova!

BROWN: Trump seemed thrilled with his new Russian friends. Before the pageant, Trump invited the Agalarovs to Las Vegas to seal the Miss Universe deal. It was guest who is coming to dinner Trump style. Aras Agalarov was there of course, and so was music publicist Rob Goldstone. A fan of silly Facebook posts, he he's the man who wrote the infamous e-mails to Donald Trump, Jr., e-mails that promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.

And Emin, the singer, would later help Goldstone set up the Trump Tower meeting with Russians. And there was one more mystery guest, who would later show up at Trump Tower. Ike Kaveladze who works for Agalarov. Trump wined and dined all of them but he was after a bigger fish to make his pageant great.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, we've invited President Putin. I know he'd like to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Before the Miss Universe deal, Donald Trump almost never spoke of Vladimir Putin. It was 2013 when he seemed to develop an intense admiration for the Russian strong man.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He's put himself really as, you know, a lot of people would say he's put himself at the forefront of the world as a leader. Putin has done an amazing job of showing certain leadership that our people have not been able to match.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: He would echo those sentiments many times in the years to come.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Russia, I mean, Putin has an 80 percent popularity in this country. He's so outsmarting the United States and all of a sudden the people in Russia like him. Run by a very smart cookie, much smarter, much more cunning than our president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: This was also when Trump began giving conflicting accounts about knowing Putin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have a relationship with Vladimir Putin, a conversational relationship?

TRUMP I do have a relationship.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What exactly is your relationship with Vladimir Putin?

TRUMP: I have no relationship with Putin.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: He would change his story repeatedly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I know him very well because we were both on 20 Minutes. We were stable mates. And we did very well that night.

I have nothing to do with Putin. I've never spoken to him. I don't know anything about him other than he will respect me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Vladimir Putin did not show up at the pageant but Trump made other contacts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I got to meet all of the leaders. I got meet all, I mean, everybody was there. It was a massive event. I was with the top-level people both oligarchs and generals.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: It's hard to say if oligarchs or generals were at the pageant already in the wild late night party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I mean, everybody was there. It was a massive event. It was tremendous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: But Trump did have at least one business meeting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're thinking about doing a Trump Tower Moscow, so we're talking to a group of people about doing that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Trump sent this good-bye tweet to his new Russian friends. "Fantastic job," he said. "Trump Tower Moscow is next."

Four years would pass, but the players at Miss Universe would return to take center stage in the Trump-Russia drama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: The most explosive evidence yet in the Russia investigation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: It was in July just six months ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Breaking in stunning news, the release of an e-mail chain from last June.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: That the world first learned about the Trump Tower meeting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: E-mails revealed that Donald Trump, Jr. went into a meeting with a Russian lawyer.

TRUMP: Say hello to Don Jr.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The president's son had a secret meeting with Russians.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Clearly told she was working for the Kremlin and that she had damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There he is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And it wasn't just Don Jr. Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner were there, too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: The subject line of the e-mail chain, Russia-Clinton, private and confidential.

BORGER: I thought it might have been fake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks kind of like a farcical episode.

BORGER: Russia-Clinton private and confidential?

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: Who follows them down that rat hole?

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC HOST: Not very smart people.

BORGER: What? Seriously, what?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Some of the e-mails read like a script for a bond movie, but they were written by Rob Goldstone and Donald Trump, Jr.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

[22:10:00] TAPPER: This can't be dismissed as people out to get Donald J. Trump, Jr. or fake news. This is evidence of willingness to commit collusion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The offer of political dirt came courtesy of Aras Agalarov with an assist from his pop star son, Emin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is obviously very high level and sensitive information, but it's part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST, CNN: When Donald Trump, Jr. is told the Russian government is trying to elect your father president, he doesn't say what do you mean? How can that be? He says, "I want to hear this."

BROWN: The actual response?

TAPPER: "If it's what you say, I love it."

BROWN: The Trump camp's explanations were confusing.

COOPER: Strange and conflicting accounts from the White House on that meeting Donald Trump, Jr. have with a Russian lawyer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The first response Trump Jr. told the New York Times it was, quote, "a short introductory meeting primarily about Russian adoption."

CNN reported that President Trump helped write the statement while he was flying home from the G-20 summit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He weighed in and offered suggestion like any father would do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: But the statement was misleading so there were questions about how large a role the president might have played in crafting it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORGER: It is something that I think the special counsel is very interested in and he wants to know who was involved in the writing of it.

TOOBIN: If a misleading statement was put out, the core question is the classic question of intent. Were Trump administration officials starting with the president himself lying to the public about the nature of his campaign dealings with Russia?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The Mueller team has questioned some who were on Air Force One when the statement was being written, including White House communication director Hope Hicks. When the story of the meeting first broke, Trump defenders downplayed it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIEBUS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I don't know much about it other than it seems to be a big nothing burger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of those people where it says is a nothing burger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a massive nothing burger.

TRUMP JR.: Hillary Clinton?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Finally Don Jr. acknowledged the full story, that he had met with a Russian lawyer offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORGER: The stories kept changing about what the meeting was about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: We got more information when Donald Trump, Jr. appeared on Fox News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP JR.: Someone sent me an e-mail. I can't help what someone sends me, you know? I read it, I responded accordingly. And if something was interesting there, I think it's pretty common.

BORGER: The difference in this case was that it came from Russians.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Russia, America's adversary. Sean Hannity did not press Trump Jr. about Russian interference, but one year earlier, Jake Tapper did. He asked Trump Jr. about what were then still just suspicions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Robby Mook, the campaign manager for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, I asked him about the DNC leak and he suggested that experts were saying that Russians were behind both the hacking of the DNC e-mails and their release. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Keep in mind as you watch this, it was six weeks after the Trump Tower meeting, after Trump Jr. had been told Russia wanted to help his father win.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP JR.: Well, it just goes to show you their exact moral compass. I mean, they'll say anything to be able to win this. I mean, this is time and time again, lie after lie. It di it's disgusting. It's so phony.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Journalists began questioning everything they heard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are 100 percent confident that no one in the campaign, not Don Jr., not Jared Kushner, not Paul Manafort, no one in the campaign told the president anything about these e-mails, anything about this meeting before it happened and he will testify to that under oath?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm not talking -- no one is testifying or I ask them to testify under oath on this so I don't know how that's coming into the picture. The president was not at the meeting, was not aware of the meeting, did not participate in the meeting. The fact is the president wasn't involved.

BROWN: There's a legal side but there's a political side.

BORGER: Yes, there's a political side which is you're out there and you're saying constantly there was no effort to collude with the Russians in any way, shape or form. And suddenly you have your son, your campaign manager and your senior adviser all in a meeting with Russians who have promised to bring you dirt.

[22:14:56] BROWN: On the very same day his son set up that meeting, Donald Trump told a crowd that he would soon have something to share on the Clintons.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week and we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you're going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Trump never did give that speech. But finally with all of Washington buzzing about the Trump Tower meeting, Donald Trump weighed in from France.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting. It's called opposition research or even research into your opponent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Even among republicans, the response was, really?

LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: Any time you're in a campaign and you get an offer from a foreign government to help your campaign, the answer is no.

TREY GOWDY, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: From the moment you watch either Dr. Zhivago or red brother (Inaudible) to the point you had a shot of liquor with a guy in a furry hat, you need to disclose every contact you have ever had with Russia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Donald Trump, Jr. said he had done that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So as far as you know, as far as this incident this is all of it?

TRUMP JR.: This is everything. This is everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: But it was not everything. There were more Russian there who were never mentioned.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Today we learned more people were in that meeting than just the lawyer and the three members of the Trump team.

COOPER: So you're learning more about who was the eighth person in the meeting between Donald Trump and the Russian attorney?

BROWN: This eighth person who was in the room he was a representative of the Agalarov family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: CNN is reporting that there was somebody else in the meeting. We're now basically waiting to find out if there were any Russians who were in New York that day who were not in that meeting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The eight people were Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Rob Goldstone, and three Russian men. Lobbyist were not up mentioned Agalarov executive Ike Kaveladze, and a translator. The leader of the meeting Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya.

NATALIA VESELNITSKAYA, RUSSIAN LAWYER: Just a second.

BROWN: A character right out of a spy novel she seldom tells the same story twice. St first she denied any connection to the Russian government.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: have you ever worked for the Russian government? Do you have connections to the Russian government?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: But she does have connections to the chief prosecutor in Russia who she shared her talking points with months before the Trump Tower meeting. She also denied bringing up any dirt on Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VESELNITSKAYA (through translator): I want to make sure that everybody understands that there was never a talk about damaging information about Mrs. Clinton.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Now she says she may have had dirt about alleged illegal donations to the Clinton campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT BALBER, AGALAROV FAMILY ATTORNEY: Natalia says she provided certain documents to the Russian prosecutor general.

BROWN: Agalarov family attorney Scott Balber spoke with Veselnitskaya.

BALBER: She referenced the possibility that money was also provided to the Hillary Clinton campaign.

TRUMP: I have nothing to do with Russia to the best of my knowledge. No person that I deal with Russia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Donald Trump said that in February. No people has now grown to 12 people, Trump associates who had contacts with Russians. Two of the most prominent have been charged with crimes. Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty to, among other charges, money laundering.

You'll hear more about them later in this story, but one lesser known player is also in the hot seat. Donald Trump first mentioned him at a meeting with Washington Post editors in 2016.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: George Papadopoulos, he's an oil and energy consultant. Excellent guy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Excellent guy George Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in the Russia investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, you called George Papadopoulos an excellent guy. What is your reaction? Mr. President, what's your reaction to George Papadopoulos?

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The Trump team has been working overtime to portray him as a nobody.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: This individual was the member of a volunteer advisory council.

MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: He was the coffee boy. You know, if he was going to wear a wire, all we'd know now is whether he prefers a caramel macchiato over a regular American coffee.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: But the coffee boy found his way to the big boy table with Donald Trump and other top campaign people.

SIMONA MANGIANTE, GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS FIANCE: He doesn't know how to even make a coffee.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The fiance of George Papadopoulos Simona Mangiante says he was much more than a coffee boy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[22:19:57] MANGIANTE: He attended many events and entertained contacts of high-level officials of different countries. He was actively giving his input and insight in terms of strategies.

BROWN: And it turns out Papadopoulos may be the very reason there's a Trump-Russia investigation. The New York Times reports that back in May of 2016 Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat that the Kremlin had thousands of e-mails that could be damaging to Hillary Clinton. Two months later, the e-mails began to leak. Australia told U.S. officials what the young campaign aides had said

and that apparently played a role in the decision to open up an FBI investigation. Papadopoulos is now cooperating with the Mueller team.

When we come back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANU RAJU, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The president thinks this is a witch hunt. Is there any way can you respond to that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Before there was a Mueller investigation.

TRUMP: He's become more famous than me.

BROWN: There was a Comey investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA BASH, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: I remember stand being in the newsroom and somebody gasped and I thought, God, what happened?

BROWN: The Jim Comey bombshell that no one saw coming.

TOOBIN: It's a dark moment in American history today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Just over 100 days in office President Trump scored a much- needed win after a House vote on health care.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Only being a politician for a short period of time, how am I doing? Am I doing OK? I'm president. Hey, I'm president! Can you believe it, right?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: But days later, he made a decision that potentially put his presidency in legal and political jeopardy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: We have a major breaking news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Moments ago, breaking news that no one saw coming today.

BASH: I remember standing in the newsroom and somebody gasped.

ZELENY: A bombshell at the White House, James Comey is out. (END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:25:02] BROWN: President Trump had abruptly fired the man in charge of investigating his campaign's ties to Russia. Although the president is allowed to fire the FBI director there were suspicions about Trump's motivation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOOBIN: This is not normal. This is not how presidents behave. It's a dark moment in American history today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One senator said it has plunged the country into a, and I quote here, "a full-fledged constitutional crisis."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: It fueled calls for special prosecutor and raised questions about how the firing was handled.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Comey wasn't even in the city. He was all the way across the country.

BROWN: He actually found out by looking up and seeing it on the television.

COOPER: OK. Just -- I just get this up. He was talking to FBI agents in Los Angeles and he looks up and he sees that he's fired from television?

BROWN: That is what we were told.

BASH: That just gives you a sense of how impulsive this firing was and it really did backfire.

TOOBIN: The underlying facts are not in dispute. The president fired James Comey. The issue is why.

BASH: The White House coms department didn't know about this.

BROWN: The media team was scrambling to answer reporters' questions.

BASH: They couldn't come up with some talking points, a statement an explanation like the basic facts.

BROWN: And Sean Spicer was left standing by the bushes.

SEAN SPICER, FORMER UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: OK. Hold on. Just turn the lights off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No camera for a moment.

SPICER: Let just relax and enjoy the night, have a glass of wine. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They deliberately didn't tell the press office

because they thought the press office would leak it. This is at that moment when he was hugely mistrustful of his own staff.

BROWN: At first a memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was given as the justification for the firing. Rosenstein was overseeing the Russia investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself. That recusal had infuriated President Trump who reportedly saw it as disloyal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He expected a certain measure of personal loyalty from Sessions, which is not how the U.S. government is supposed to work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The New York Times reported when Trump heard that Sessions might recuse himself, he ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to stop it. That effort was unsuccessful and Trump is still angry at Jeff Sessions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORGER: It's a bunch of dominos that seem to kind of fall. Rod Rosenstein appointed the special counsel and he believed there would be not a special counsel if Jeff Sessions had actually remained engaged in the Russia investigation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The Times reports that special counsel Robert Mueller is looking at the whole matter as a part of a potential obstruction of justice case. Meanwhile, on the night of the Comey firing the chaos continued.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was it like?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: You have to ask -- you have to ask the deputy attorney general.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he just started two weeks ago. Would the White House have told him to do that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The memo was critical of Comey's handling of Hillary Clinton's e-mails before the election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Why now are you concerned about the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation when as a candidate Donald Trump was praising it from the campaign trail? CONWAY: I think you're looking at the wrong set of facts here. In

other words, you're going back to the campaign. This man is the president of the United States. He acted decisively today. He took the recommendation of his deputy attorney general, who oversees the FBI director --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: That makes no sense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Finally Trump gave what appeared to be his real reason.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It's an excuse by the democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The day after Comey was fired, Trump shared his feelings about it with Russian officials visiting the Oval Office. According to the New York Times, the president said "I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAGGIE HABERMAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES: It was a staggering moment. Disparaging the director of the FBI, albeit fired, to an adversarial power?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Perhaps the greater importance is when the president also said this, "I face great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HABERMAN: The words alleviating (Ph) pressures I think are going to raise questions for investigators.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The president has consistently said that he did not obstruct justice when he fired James Comey. The two men come from completely different worlds.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO NEWS: James Comey is a professional law man. He has a respect for the traditions of the Justice Department. COMEY: It should be about the facts and the law. That's why I became

FBI director.

BROWN: Donald Trump, on the other hand, is a businessman.

ISIKOFF: He expects absolute loyalty from everybody working for him. That's the culture in which he has operated for many, many years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:30:05] BROWN: Their relationship got off to a bad start. Before the inauguration, James Comey was in charge of telling Donald Trump about the dossier, the controversial document containing allegations about the president gathered as part of an opposition research project during the campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES COMEY, FORMER UNITED STATES FBI DIRECTOR: I didn't want him thinking that I was briefing him on this to sort of hang it over him in some way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: It turns out that's exactly what the president thought, according to an interview he gave the New York times.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Trump's reaction was anger. He said it was completely false.

BROWN: The encounter apparently didn't sit well with Comey either.

PEREZ: We went back to the FBI suburban and pulled out a classified computer and wrote his first memo about his interactions with Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMEY: I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting and so I felt it really important to document.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The inauguration was a success.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Comey's next public encounter with the president was awkward. The director of the FBI thought it was crucial to keep his distance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN WITTES, EDITOR IN CHIEF, LAWFARE: He stands in the part of the room that is physically as far from the president has it's possible to be.

BROWN: But then -- TRUMP: He's become more famous than me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It encapsulated the difficult position Comey was in because he was at once the FBI director answerable to the President of the United States but also conducting an investigation of the Trump campaign, which the president obviously hated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMEY: You've seen the picture of me walking across the blue room. What the president whispered in my ear was, "I really look forward to working with you."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The president kept reaching out. Next came an invitation to dinner at the White House.

TOOBIN: The very fact that the president, whose campaign is under investigation, is asking to have dinner with the FBI director alone raises all sorts of red flags, as it did for Comey.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMEY: The dinner was an effort to build a relationship. In fact, he asked specifically of loyalty in the context of asking me to stay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The president's words, according to Comey, I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.

COMEY: He was asking for something and I was refusing to give it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The White House denied he was asking for personal loyalty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, FORMER UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the president wants loyalty to this country and to the rule of law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: It is their last meeting which may prove to be critical in the investigation of potential obstruction of justice.

TOOBIN: Just picture the scene in the Oval Office. The FBI director is there with his boss, Jeff Sessions, with other very senior officials. They are told to leave the room by the president and then it's just a one on one. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMEY: Why would you kick the attorney general, the chief of staff out to talk to me? My impression was something big was about to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: This was one day after national security adviser Michael Flynn had been forced out. The White House said Flynn was fired because he lied to the vice president about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.

Questions have been raised about whether the president knew Flynn also lied to the FBI, which is a federal crime. So another critical question is whether Trump knew it when he said this according to Comey. "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMEY: Here is the President of the United States with me alone saying I hope this, I took it as this is what he wants me to do. I didn't obey that but that's the way I took it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TOOBIN: It is so wildly inappropriate, it is so contrary to how the government is supposed to work and it may well be evidence of a crime.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you at any time urge former FBI director James Comey to close or back down the investigation into Michael Flynn? And also as you look back --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: No. No. Next question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: It may have been Comey's appearance on Capitol Hill just days before he was fired in early May that finally sealed his fate. Comey was asked about his decision to publicly announce the reopening of the Clinton e-mail investigation before the election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMEY: Look, this was terrible. It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election but honestly, it wouldn't have changed the decision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Comey's concern that he influenced the outcome of the election infuriated the president.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES: Trump heard it as a personal attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Look, he's a show boat, he's a grandstander.

BASH: But Donald Trump hears that. He hears my presidency is illegitimate. You're trying to question whether or not I should be in the Oval Office right now.

[22:35:00] TRUMP: The Russians did not affect the vote and everybody seems to think that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The president spent a rainy weekend at his New Jersey golf resort stewing about Jim Comey's testimony.

BASH: He came back and decided I'm going to do it, I'm going to fire James Comey.

BROWN: Among those supporting the president's decision, son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.

BASH: It did show that some of the people around the president who are pushing this are beyond politically naive.

BROWN: After the firing, James Comey return to Capitol Hill and revealed something extraordinary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMEY: I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with the reporter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The memo described his last meeting with the president in the Oval Office.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMEY: I ask him to because I thought that my prompt the appointment of a special counsel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: He was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is huge, Pamela.

BROWN: This is a significant step. We're learning that the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has appointed former FBI director Bob Mueller to now oversee the Russia probe. HABERMAN: That was a dangerous day for the president potentially.

BASH: The special counsel has a very wide net that he can catch to look into all things Russia, and who knows what else he's going to find.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Comey, the president --

BASH: That would not have happened had President Trump not fired James Comey.

BROWN: Still ahead, chasing an oligarch.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Is it true that Mr. Manafort owed you millions of dollars when he was the head of the Trump campaign?

BROWN: To chase down the real story.

CHANCE: Did he offer those private briefings to you as a way to try and repay that debt?

BROWN: On all the president's men.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: get lost, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Kushner, will you sign my Russian flag? Sign my Russian, please, sign my Russian flag.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paul Manafort will surrender today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The indictment, conspiracy against the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: A former campaign chairman indicted on nine counts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I have the smartest people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trusted adviser Jared Kushner.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: A secret means of communicating with the Kremlin. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: top adviser who discussed a back-channel with the Russians.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I have the most dedicated people.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Michael Flynn has resigned tonight.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Back door communications with Russia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And a national security adviser guilty of lying to the FBI.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I have the best people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn. This is the story of all the president's men.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I got the best in the world.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Settle down, guys. You, all right? Ready? OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: November 10th, 2016.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We talked about some of the organizational issues.

BROWN: Two days after the election, President Obama gives his successor a piece of advice.

OBAMA: That ensures our president-elect is successful.

BROWN: Do not hire Michael Flynn --

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And now the oath of office.

BROWN: -- as your national security adviser.

BROWN: CNN was told something by U.S. officials that was deeply concerning.

MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER UNITED STATES NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: The next president of the United States right here!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: During the campaign, American intelligence picked up the Russians bragging that they had a strong relationship with Flynn.

BORGER: You have to take some of the conversations we were told with a little bit of a grain of salt, but this set off an alarm for Obama administration officials who were quite worried about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLYNN: You know, people talk about temperament --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Flynn had worried intelligence officials for months. In 2015, the retired three-star general appeared on the Kremlin-funded news channel R.T.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLYNN: Russia and the United States have to work together on this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: He even at an event celebrating R.T.'s tenth anniversary and he sat next to Vladimir Putin at dinner.

MARK MAZZETTI, WASHINGTON INVESTIGATIONS EDITOR, NEW YORK TIMES: Here you have a former top intelligence official at the United States government celebrates this gala for what seems to be the propaganda arm of the government.

BROWN: Flynn made almost $34,000 for his appearance. But investigators looking into his security clearance said Flynn told them he did not take any money for the trip from a foreign source.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLYNN: I didn't take any money from Russia if that's what you're asking me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Congressional members from both parties have said he may have broken the law in the process.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JASON CHAFFETZ, (R) FORMER UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: It appears as if he did take that money. It was inappropriate and there are repercussions for the violation of law.

MAZZETTI: It leads investigators to wonder why aren't you disclosing certain things. What do you have to hide? (END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Flynn has denied what he calls, quote, "false accusations of treason." But the bombshell of Robert Mueller's investigation came on December 1st when Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. While he was national security adviser he told FBI agents that he had not discussed sanctions with Russia's ambassador during the transition. But he had talked sanctions and the FBI knew it because the ambassador had been monitored by U.S. intelligence.

BASH: He said he didn't do it and there were transcripts clearly showing that he did.

BROWN: What's more, Flynn admitted in his plea deal that the sanctions talks had been coordinated with Trump's transition team.

SCIUTTO: The White House cannot argue that this was Michael Flynn going off as a loose cannon here.

BROWN: A White House lawyer claimed that Flynn's guilty plea didn't implicate anyone else. Before he pleaded guilty Flynn was facing a lot of tough legal issues. But Mueller only charged him with one count. So it's possible that Flynn has an even bigger story to tell.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're seeing Manafort coming now with counsel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Paul Manafort, the president's former campaign chairman is also facing possible jail time. He is charged with money laundering millions of dollars, concealing his work for a foreign government and conspiring against the United States. He has pleaded not guilty.

SCIUTTO: The special counsel makes a very aggressive argument that this is someone who can't be trusted.

BROWN: Manafort made a lot of his money working for this man, Putin's ally, Viktor Yanukovych, the former President of Ukraine.

[22:44:58] Yanukovych was a strong man who presided over a deadly crackdown against protesters in the streets of Kiev. He left his country in disgrace. Manafort had helped bring him to power.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, AUTHOR, THE MAKING OF DONALD TRUMP: Paul Manafort has for decades been the Washington lobbyist and influence peddler around the world for a lot of the most vicious dictators we've seen.

BROWN: The question is was Manafort also linked to Russia's strong man, Vladimir Putin?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are there any ties between Mr. Trump, you or your campaign and Putin and his regime? PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: No, there are not. It's

absurd and there's no basis to it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: But U.S. intelligence saw a different story. Agents intercepted communications from suspected Russian operatives indicating that Manafort appeared to be asking them for him.

PEREZ: They describe him essentially encouraging help, encouraging the Russians to provide assistance to Donald Trump's campaign.

BROWN: Manafort's ties to Russia go way back. He worked for a close associate of Putin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: Is it true that Mr. Manafort offered millions of dollars when he was --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Oleg Deripaska, one of a few wealthy oligarchs Putin consults with regularly according to a U.S. State Department cable.

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: He can pick up a phone to the oligarchs and say, hey, I need to get a message out to this American and it gets done because he's Vladimir Putin and that's how the system works.

BROWN: Less than two weeks before trump got nominated Manafort offered to brief Deripaska privately on how the campaign was going, according to the Washington Post.

HALL: It's not often that the Russians get somebody to volunteer like that.

CHANCE: Does he owe you millions of dollars?

BROWN: In fact, court documents indicate that Manafort may have been in debt to Deripaska.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: Did he offer you those private briefings to try and repay some of that debt to you? Is that why he offered them?

OLEG DERIPASKA, FOUNDER, BASIC ELEMENT: Get lost, please. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Deripaska's spokesman told CNN that the oligarch was never offered briefings by Manafort. Manafort's spokesman has denied that Manafort was in debt to Deripaska during the Trump campaign and afterwards but he has admitted that Manafort offered the briefings. Manafort was also at the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians in June 2016.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Kushner, will you sign my Russian flag? Sign my Russian flag, please, sign my Russian flag.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And so was the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any comment, Mr. Kushner?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Kushner hasn't been charged with any crimes but troubling questions have been raised about his connections to Russia.

TOOBIN: Jared Kushner is incredibly important for several reasons. He's a witness to virtually all the central issues in this investigation. He is also important because he's an independent actor. He is someone who had contact with Russian representatives.

BROWN: Kushner has not been forthcoming about those contacts. He was required by law to disclose them to the FBI to get a security clearance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Kushner, was it appropriate for you to meet with a Russian official?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: But he has repeatedly admitted foreign contacts and had to submit his forms four times, sparking tough questions from both parties. His reasons for the revisions range from forgetfulness to a clerical error.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There have been stories that have been appearing for months about Jared Kushner's meetings.

BROWN: December 1st, 2016, Kushner meets with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak in Trump Tower.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That Russian ambassador came to New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jared Kushner met with the Russian ambassador.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: They discussed setting up a back channel with Moscow at Russia's own embassy.

BORGER: You have to say that raises a red flag and say, well, why wasn't this reported?

BROWN: Kushner claimed he wanted to discuss Syria and said the arrangement was never set up. Some in U.S. intelligence believe that Kislyak was one of Russia's top spies in Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: Did you atone recruit any members of the Trump administration?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: December 13th, 2016, Kushner meets with Sergei Gorkov, the head of a sanctioned Russian bank that's often funded Putin's pet projects, like the Sochi Olympics. The bank was also used as a cover by a Russian spy in New York City who went to prison for espionage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: The FBI now says it has busted a Russian spy ring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Evgeny Buryakov is actually was one of three Russian spies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And Gorkov himself attended the training academy for Russian intelligence operatives.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: What did you really speak to Jared Kushner about in New York when you met him in December?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No comment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:50:00] BROWN: There have been questions about whether Kushner might have discussed his family's business with banker Gorkov.

Kushner owns a storied Fifth Avenue building with a reported $1.2 billion mortgage coming due in 2019. Kushner says that his business dealings never came up with Gorkov and that all of his meetings with Russians were nothing to worry about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JARED KUSHNER, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SON-IN-LAW: I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so.

CHANCE: Your bank says it was a business meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: But Gorkov's bank implied that the meeting with Kushner was about business, referring to Kushner as the head of Kushner industries. Robert Mueller's team has expressed interest in Kushner including his role in the firing of James Comey.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advises your campaign had contacts with Russia during the course of the election?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Investigators still have many questions for the president's men.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: How many times do I have to answer this question?

SCIUTTO: The collusion question --

TRUMP: I have nothing to do with Russia.

SCIUTTO: -- is not closed.

TRUMP: To the best of my knowledge no person that I deal with does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: When we return.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals in Russia.

BROWN: But Donald Trump has made money with Russians.

TRUMP: I paid $40 million, I sold it for $100 million and I sold it to a Russian.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[22:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: In the situation room we have major breaking news right now. The U.S. Justice Department has just named a special counsel in the Russian investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a significant step.

COOPER: A development that could change everything.

TOOBIN: I think we're going to see justice.

BASH: Bob Mueller is very thorough. Good for the investigation, maybe not so much for President Trump.

TRUMP: Does anybody have any questions?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The day after that bomb shell announcement, President Trump had his first chance to strike back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was this the right move or is this part of a witch hunt?

TRUMP: I respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch hunt.

SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is a witch hunt and a hoax.

TRUMP: Russia is a ruse.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: A fiction, a total a fabrication.

TRUMP: It's all fake news.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: But no matter what the Trump team would call it, the Russia investigation was very real.

RAJU: The president thinks it's a witch hunt, does any way you can respond to that?

BROWN: And under Robert Mueller going in a direction the president did not wanted to go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I have a great company. I built an unbelievable company, but if you'll look there you'll see there is nothing in Russia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TOOBIN: If you listen to the statements of the president and his team about the Mueller investigation, they feel like financial issues, Trump's business dealings should be walled off, should be off limits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To look at a real estate deal from ten years ago

it would be way outside of the scope of the mandate and we would certainly object to that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TOOBIN: But it is clear that Mueller's team is looking directly as his business dealings for the perfectly understandable reason that money can be a motive.

BROWN: We followed the money to the very beginning of Trump's connection to Russia, decades earlier, in 1987 when 41-year-old Donald Trump took off for his very first business trip to Moscow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNSTON: In 1987, Donald Trump was flush with money. And Donald was invited to Russia. So he and Ivana went to Russia and they tried to make a deal to build a Trump Tower there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm with CNN.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: That deal never happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was talk of Trump Tower in Moscow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: But again and again Trump would keep on trying.

JOHNSTON: Donald tried at least five times to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

TOOBIN: He has an enormous ability to deny reality. Reality is, that during the campaign, not just in ancient history. During the campaign, he was negotiating for a hotel to be built in Moscow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Well, Erin, we've learned that Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal lawyer was in talks with Moscow through an intermediary about a proposal to build Trump Tower there.

TOOBIN: That is the definition of business dealings in Russia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The deal, outlined in a nonbinding letter of intent signed by Trump in the fall of 2015 fell through but not before Trump's attorney reached out to the Kremlin for help.

Cohen said in the statement today that he e-mailed Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov for help on this project on behalf of the Trump organization.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We could make deals in Russia very easily if we wanted to. I just don't want to because I think --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: But according to economist and investigative journalist James Henry, all of the focus on Trump's deals in Russia might be missing the point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES HENRY, ECONOMIST: It isn't so much that Trump has been investing in Russia, is that he's been receiving lots of finance from the former Soviet union states from oligarchs.

TRUMP: I've got more oligarchs living in my buildings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And before he became a politician, businessman Donald Trump boasted about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you had any dealings with the Russians?

TRUMP: Well, I've done a lot of business with the Russians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most expensive home ever sold in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Back in 2008, at the height of the U.S. housing collapse, Trump made a record breaking deal with a Russian oligarch known as the fertilizer king, Dmitry Rybolovlev.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He bought from Donald Trump a mansion about two miles from Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I paid $40 million, and I sold it for $100 million, and I sold it to a Russian.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Donald J. Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Rybolovlev would reappear during the 2016 election. When according to McClatchy News, his private plane was spotted in two U.S. cities where Trump was campaigning, Concord, North Carolina, and Las Vegas, Nevada.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[23:00:00] HENRY: It certainly looks suspicious that we have his leading Russian oligarch birddogging our president on the campaign trail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: A White House source told McClatchy News the pair never met. And rival (inaudible) called the overlaps a pure coincidence that occurred while he was traveling on unrelated business.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we still don't understand that to this day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What remains clear however is that this oligarch is hardly the only Russian to have bolstered Trump's bottom line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a surprising number of Russians in every deal everywhere.

BROWN: After a financial collapse in 1991 that threaten to end his empire for good, Trump spent most of the decade digging out from under enormous debt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was un-financeable by major banks.

BROWN: Luckily for Trump, a new source of money was just around the corner.

ADAM DAVIDSON, THE NEW YORKER: There is this unbelievable avalanche of money pouring in from the former Soviet Union just when Trump is in serious trouble, financially.

BROWN: After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia's state owned business moved in to private hands. Creating a class of wealthy oligarchs, some of whom began investing in American real estate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you want to part money in the U.S. and have the lowest possible risk of being noticed you want to buy real estate.

BROWN: In the years that followed, properties like trump World tower in New York according to Bloomberg news and the developments in Florida according to Reuters, started filled up with Russian buyers.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My name is Donald Trump and I'm the largest real estate developer in New York.

BROWN: Meanwhile Donald Trump was finding his way into American living rooms across the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: he has this incredible source of luck. He turns into an actor playing a successful businessman.

TRUMP: Who will be, the "apprentice"?

BROWN: And the apprentice opened the door for Trump to a new way of making money. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He shifted his business model. He started

licensing his name and putting it on everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doing this in haphazard chaotic way.

TRUMP: When it comes to great stakes, I just raised the stakes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump stakes and Trump lottery, Trump this, and Trump that. He licensed neckties, buildings, beautiful, beautiful solution that hey, if I don't ask a lot of questions and I allow my name to go on projects, then I'll get paid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He got buildings in which he didn't put up a penny, but he got a multimillion dollar fee up front to get the Trump name on it.

TRUMP: The Trump SOHO is a very, very special building.

BROWN: In the case of Trump tower SOHO, the Trump organization got 18 percent ownership of the tower without investing a single dime according to Bloomberg news.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

BROWN: The financing for the project was left up to his partner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A problematic project from top to bottom.

BROWN: A lawsuit file by a former Bayrock insider in 2110 accuses Bayrock of money laundering and it has ties to Russia and Russia organized crime. The suite is ongoing and Bayrock denies the allegations.

DAVIDSON: There is a -- why would Trump ever do business with those guys?

BROWN: Guys like Russia born Felix Sater, Bayrock key executive. Sater's lawyer Robert Wolff says that the suit accusing Bayrock of shady dealings is a shake down.

Sater is a twice convicted felony, after his second conviction, he cooperated on cases with the Justice Department.

Felix had been convicted of stabbing someone in the neck with a margarita class in 1991. He go a year in prison for that. 1998 he is convicted of a $40 million financial fraud with penny stocks.

BROWN: Despite his checkered past Sater, business ties with the Trump organizations extended well beyond the SOHO deal. Together they explored additional Trump deals in the U.S. and abroad. But in sworn testimony in a 2013 deposition, Trump insisted he barely even knew Sater.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About how many times have you converses with Mr. Sater.

TRUMP: Over the years? Not many. If he was sitting in the room right now I wouldn't really know what he looked like.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is absolutely up tree that Trump doesn't know Felix Sater.

[23:05:00] BROWN: At one time Sater work at an office at Trump tower and held a business card for the Trump organization. He was also the go between for Trump's most recent and perhaps most controversial attempt of building Trump tower Moscow. According to the New York Times Sater urged Trump to come to Moscow and tour the proposal and even suggested to him that he could help him win the presidency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The e-mails have come out where you see Sater saying we could use this business opportunity to get him elected.

TRUMP: President Trump would be so much better for U.S. Russian relations.

BROWN: There is no question during the campaign that Trump was trying to get closer to Russia, and repair relations with Russia.

TRUMP: There is nothing I can think of that I would rather do than have Russia friendly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question for the Mueller investigation is whether or not the reason Trump was reaching out to Russia is because he was making money or expecting to make money from relationships with Putin's people.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:10:00] BROWN: Houston Texas, the heart Texas Facebook page by this 250,000 followers to the stop of Islamization of Texas rally. And precisely the same time and place people gather for the united Muslims of America Facebook event. Shockingly, Americans had nothing to do with starting those Facebook groups. For about $200, Russians trolls got 15,000 people to see their fake ad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Across the country, you may very well driven by a protest. These protests in some cases were organized out of Russia.

BROWN: Russian imposters pushing messages, sometimes violence, false, and often controversial. $100,000 in Facebook ads, thousands of twitter accounts, and google ad dollars. Russians were behind it all creating to content design to pit Americans against one another.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Social media was used to target the minds of the American people.

BROWN: It seems the U.S. Government was blindsided when it came to social media threats, is that fair?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that is a fair statement.

BROWN: Around 150 million people were exposed to the bogus content on Facebook and Instagram alone. That is equivalent to more than half of the total U.S. voting population. Now Capitol Hill wants answers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The political add was paid for by (inaudible), isn't that a red flag? How could that happen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It began more than 4,000 miles away in St. Petersburg in this utterly nondescript office building.

BROWN: They were placing thousands of ads on Facebook during the 2016 presidential election to stoke arguments and in some ways also to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Almost all of the propaganda found so far traces back to the internet research agency. Investigators say it was finance by a company owned by a wealthy Russian businessman in part of Putin's inner circle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They hired people that had a quota, they were working 12 hour shifted leading up through the elections. There was an entire English language department specifically assign to insert messages, insert social media post in the United States. They were required to watch house of Cards to better understand American politics.

BROWN: In two weeks' time, you will be heading to the ballot box to decide what kind of country you want to live in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The idea was to masquerade themselves as Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They understood that Black Lives Matter ads should be targeted to cities like Baltimore and Ferguson which are violent protests over African-American men. They understood that gay rights was a big issue, and gun rights were big issues.

BROWN: Some people may have seen these videos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton is not our candidate.

BROWN: Posted to pages now identified as part of Moscow's influence campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a thoughtful and details process of how do I make this look legitimate.

BROWN: Legitimacy boosted when influential people amplified the message. This Russian run account was retweeted by Trump Jr., Kellyanne Conway, and Michael Flynn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In sharing this content from trump's campaign in effect whether knowingly or unknowingly helped legitimized the spread of Russian disinformation.

BROWN: From tweets to posts to pictures. They used every digital tool to their advantage. That was born out of sheer necessity.

TRUMP: Hi, everybody.

BROWN: From day one, candidate Trump faced an uphill battle. He lacked foot soldiers and local offices that his opponent had spent months even years cultivating.

[23:15:10] Trump's campaign threw out the old playbook and turned to a newer more powerful way to turn out the vote, big data. Jared Kushner oversaw that part of the operation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He treated Trump like an e-commerce company. Like a consumer tech company.

BROWN: Trump's digital team bet big on one simple idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can now target your message to a smaller group of people and have it be more impactful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understood early that Facebook will help Trump to win. Twitters how he talk to people, Facebook is how you want.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump campaign Digital Director (inaudible) led the effort.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now I can find 15 people they would never buy a TV commercial for.

We took opportunities that the other side didn't.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had staff imbedded in our offices. Facebook employees would show up for work every day in our offices.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Facebook offered a service to both political campaigns. The Trump campaign took Facebook up on it. The Clinton campaign surprisingly did not.

BROWN: While they have testified on Capitol Hill, both deny any collusion with the Russians.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By all accounts, the Russians feel like they were successful in what they were trying to accomplish.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would imagine every day that Vladimir Putin and the people around him are watching American news saying in our wildest streams, we never thought they could be this disruptive. The Russians probably, rightly think that they won.

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BROWN: We close tonight with a dossier that controversial document which contains many troubling allegations about Donald Trump and his associates and the campaign. Some said it is evidence of collusion. Others say it has been disproven and fake. Neither of the statements are correct. For our story we will stick to the facts.

[23:20:13] Ten days before the inauguration of Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're live in Chicago tonight.

BROWN: On the same might that President Barack Obama was giving his farewell address to the nation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking news we need to tell you about. I want to go straight to Jake Tapper.

BROWN: A team of CNN reporters broke a stunning story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jim Sciutto I am impressed and Carl Bernstein and I, we have all been working on this story --

BROWN: About America's new President.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Claims of Russian efforts to compromise the President-Elect Trump.

BROWN: The President-Elect and the outgoing President briefed on the most sensational charges in the dossier.

SCIUTTO: Allegations that Russian operatives claim to have been compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.

BROWN: U.S. Officials with direct knowledge told CNN that Trump had been warned. Russia could had compo mark on him. That is the damaging information gathered through surveillance that Vladimir Putin is believed to collect on important people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: would you be concern that the Russian could have leverage on the president of the United States?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BROWN: Former intelligence chief James Clapper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gaining leverage, that is their objective. If they can compromise somebody, they have a term for it, compromised.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was our strong sense that the nation's senior most intelligence officials would not waste the time of the President and President-Elect if it was easy to dismiss information.

BROWN: CNN did not reveal the contents of the dossier. It had not been verified. But shortly after CNN broke the story, BuzzFeed published the entire dossier on the internet.

TRUMP: It is all fake news.

BROWN: Donald Trump was furious.

TRUMP: It is fake news, phony stuff, a disgrace.

BROWN: Journalist had not verified it. Portions of the dossier had been in FBI hands for months. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Through August to September of 2016, Chris Steele

the former MI6 officer who had compiled the dossier puts it in the hands of someone in Rome that is an FBI agency that puts it in the blood stream of the FBI.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Christopher steel was a veteran British spy that worked for the MI6 intelligence service was a Russian expert.

BROWN: Steel compiled the dossier as opposition research for the Democratic national committee and the Clinton campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was from America's closest intelligent partner, British intelligence, who is based in the country involved in this dossier, Russia and since the time, working for U.S. Law enforcement.

BROWN: Now through the FBI's investigation and extensive reporting, we know the parts of the dossier are true, because U.S. Government intercepted picked up conversations between Russians that corresponded to conversations detailed in the dossier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meetings and conversations that were contain in the dossier did in fact take place in the times and places between the people involved as described in the dossier.

BROWN: The reports that make up the document allege extensive Russian interference in the election, information that U.S. officials later confirm to be true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC. The intelligence that I have seen gives me great confidence in their assessment that it happened at the highest levels of the Russian government. It was designed to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Those claims in the dossier have all pretty much been verified by the U.S. Intelligence committee.

BROWN: Another powerful charge in the dossier will sound familiar now. Associates of Donald Trump were in contact with Russians throughout the campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The dossier describes Trump associates, Russia's ties to the government, not only communicating in meetings discussing cooperation's and the Russian intelligence.

BROWN: And the dossier describes other ways the Russians tampered with the election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was the social media to influence the election, fake news, many of the pieces start to fit together in the timeline.

BROWN: There are no evidence so far to support the most sensational allegation that the kremlin has compromising material on Donald Trump but a former CIA station chief in Moscow says Russia almost certainly has a file on the President.

So you believe that the Russians have compo mark on Donald Trump? [23:25:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be surprised greatly if they

did not. That is what they do, that is what the Internal Intelligence service, the FSB does they have for decades and decades.

BROWN: Most important investigators say is this? The dossier is just one piece of information in their wide ranging inquiry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have spoken to a number of people and they make clear listen, there is a lot more out there than just this. The dossier is just one small piece of a much larger picture.

BROWN: As we have tried to bring that picture into focus, we made several attempts to speak to one of the President's lawyers on camera. We were unable to obtain an interview. Donald Trump maintains in statements and on twitter that there was no collusion. But multiple investigations by the special counsel and in congress continue. As a result, we will also continue to report the story focusing on the facts. I'm Pamela Brown, thank you for joining us.

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